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Fender/SWR "Customer Service"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by The Golden Boy, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. I am in need of a speaker recone after lending a cab to a friend (I actually didn't blow a speaker for once!) so I sent an email to Fender/SWR "customer support" (hafta use quotes around that) and asked how to go about getting them reconed under the new regime. The reply I got was this:

    To which my reply was "You're kidding, right?" and I have not recieved a reply from them (like I really expected to...)

    So, apparently, Fender feels as if the speakers they now provide are not worth fixing, and therefore are "disposable."

    So I guess this goes to a local shop that does reconing, they're good guys and do a good job.
  2. ostrzoskrzydly


    Jul 1, 2003
    Browse the SWR Forum - they have quite a discussion with a lot of fine comedy going on there.
  3. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    Actually I don't see that as surprising or unreasonable. I know it seems odd, but the typical mass-produced speaker would cost more to recone than to replace.

    All the old cone and glue has to be cut, scraped, and cleaned off, the new cone alined and glued, and the new dustcap put on, all while the magnet is open and ready to grab anything iron and hold it inside to make a "rub".

    In the factory, the assembly is done before the magnet is charged, the parts are usually automatically glued and alined with factory jigs, and the whole process is done with new parts, no cleaning required. The magnet is "charged" after assembly, so nothing sticks to it while its open.

    Oh, and does the recone place have a cone that will have the same sound? Speakers are often treated and diddled with as to cone materials, surround type and material, thickness, etc, "secret speaker dope" may be applied, etc, etc, all of which affects the sound.

    Yeah, reconing used to be easy and available. But it isn't generally economical unless the speaker is high dollar like a JBL.

    And unless done perfectly with factory parts, it likely won't sound the same anyway.

    Fender doesn't make the speakers, someone else does, maybe in Brazil or China. The maker usually doesn't supply recone materials, and reconing is an expensive pain for an electronics manufacturer.

    Nope, you are probably better off replacing. But your choice, of course.
  4. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    SWR Engineering did my recones at less the half the cost of new.

    SWR Customer Service as taken a HUGE dive since Fender
    bought the company. Who would of expected that? (everyone)

    A phone call to SWR used to mean World Class Customer Service.
    They would often transfer your call to the shop floor to
    talk to the guys actually making the product on the bench.
    Tech questions used to be answered by Engineer's.

    Now you have to be prepared for disappointment and
    and maybe even sarcasim from a bonehead who knows less then you.

    Fender is truly destroying the SWR Label.

    They can't help themselves.
    It's part of their Corporate Culture.
  5. notanaggie

    notanaggie Guest

    Sep 30, 2003
    Well I didn't know SWR did that. I am surprised that they felt it was economical.

    But SWR was pretty customer-oriented, without the "we were cool before you were born, so go away" attitude I have noticed elsewhere..............

    Word from Namm I heard was that Fender was going to make SWR their "middle-range" product line, and keep the Fender units as their top line (and also the low cost (X) product).

    I thought that was weird, as SWR seemed to me to be a "higher placed" line than Fender, frankly. Sorta as if you bought Mesa or GK and just used the name on your cheapo chinese 20 watt SS amps. Go figure.
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Overall reconing is becoming a lost art. In my town of nearly 3 million, there is one shop left that does it.

    It is very time consuming and takes a great deal of skill to get right. I am not surprised that SWR doesn't keep the staff onhand for such a task.

    It is also getting quite expensive. I paid more to have my Ampeg 15" driver reconed than I would have paid for a new one directly from St. Louis Music. (And actually drove farther to get it done) But I have worked with this guy for years, and I actually think that I now have a better sounding speaker than it was originally.
  7. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    as far as buying speakers from SWR. I ordered two 10 inch speakers from Fender/SWR on Nov. 17th 2003. I'm still waiting for them. :help:
  8. My cabinet in question is an older Triad, which I assume has the PAS 10 in it. I don't know what people consider the cutoff for being a "high dollar" speaker is, but figuring that the 10s SWR was replacing speakers with is going to run around $130 or so. If a Celestion Greenback is considered a reputable speaker, those go for right around $100. Three years ago I had the output section in a brand new SWR amp "blow up" so to speak, and it killed all 4 10s in my Goliath. I don't revere SWR's old customer support as "world class" as I had to pay full recone price for one speaker, parts for 2, and had one comped. Recone price was around $70, at about half the price of a new driver. In fact, I think that $130 was the price of a used, reconed speaker. Having the speakers reconed by SWR (or Audio Design Service) I didn't have any dropoff of performance of the speakers, in fact, the cab probably sounds better now than it did before the amp blew.

    FWIW, I recieved a reply from Fender/SWR and he told me that the company that did SWR's factory repair work was Audio Design Service at 818-754-0467.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I find it surprising only because prior to being bought by Fender SWR did offer recone services.

    Recones are always cheaper than buying new speakers unless you're talking about a $10 speaker. I'm surprised they didn't point you to an authorized reconer.

    It is a shame about the decline in SWR service, I was in contact them a few times and actually got followup emails from Steve Rabe and Charlie Jamieson making sure my problems were solved.
  10. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
  11. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Rehan Jacobs was the man! I had some issues with 2 drivers in the Goliath Senior I used to own, even though I bought it used, Rehan had me send the drivers in, which he deemed defective, and reconed for FREE. I was the second owner, and it was out of warranty anyway.

    When Fender bought them and I had a very minor problem, all I got on the phone were sarcastic jerks that couldn't care less what kind of problems I was having.

    Shortly after that, I sold the stuff and bought eden......blows the SWR stuff away, and while I haven't needed a single thing from Eded C/S yet, I hear they are good.
  12. misterk73


    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    I recently dealt Fender customer service about an SWR preamp and was quite pleased with the experience.

    I have an SWR Mini Mo' and needed a switch repaired on the foot controller. The local authorized service center was giving me the runaround for weeks (months, really, but it's a long story). Bottom line: I called Fender up, told the customer service rep about the situation, and everything was resolved within a day. Fender/SWR did their job and did it well .. the local shop, however, apparently has its head up its arse.

    Moral of the story: don't rely on email for customer service. "Get someone on the phone and get results" has always been my experience with customer service in any situation...
  13. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Stephen W.Rabe hasn't been involved with SWR in a looong time. Fender just recently bought out SWR. It stands to reason that they are still in a transitional spot somewhat.

    I actually think what SWR told you was the better way to go. It seems reasonable to me to just buy a new speaker than to send it to them to recone. They make a ton of amps, and I'm sure that a simple recone could very easily get lost in the process at the factory. Get it reconed at a local shop.
  14. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    btw I just had a second set of PAS 10's friom a Goliath Jr II reconed by these folks http://www.speakerreconing.com/
    Finished the job in two weeks and they work perfectly.